Friday 7 August 2015

Leaders of the Chapters - A comparison of Chapter Masters and Captains - Part 2

Welcome Readers to part 2 of my review and comparison of the leaders of the Chapters in playable form!!

Today I will go through the remaining 6 characters and then at the bottom have my ranking from best to worst, if you agree let me know! And if you disagree, contemplate on your wrongness and let me know!


Marneus Calgar - The big blue cheese papa smurf. Shudder. Along with Azrael, Dante and Logan, this is the other Lord of War character in the list rocking in at a whopping 275 points! For only 20 more points you can get yourself a sodding wraithknight. Le sigh. He is however a badass in his 
own right. Chapter master stats, a 2+/4++ with eternal warrior and he has orbital bombardment AND as well as his special power fists, for some reason he actually has a power sword as well. Thats nice but who on earth opts to use the power sword!?

Warlord trait - The God of War special rule means that like Azrael, Marneus can choose whichever warlord trait from the space marine book that he likes. This gives him great tactical felxibility and means he can give himself FNP if he feels like it. (And in this list it is dished out like its going to become unfashionable).

The Gauntlets of Ultramar! The last word in bad ass fistery it must be said. Strength x2 and Ap2 AND at initiative! Holy cow thats good! He could single handed mulch through a squad of teminators no problem. Hang on a second! He can fire the fists too! Assault 2 with a 24 inch range! And these bad boys are strength 4 and AP2 which is delicious. 

His terminator armour isn't any old armour either. It is the Armour of Antilochus which allows Marneus to sweeping advance and has a built in teleport homer for that precision dropping goodness indeed. 

Finally he has the special rule Master Tactician (Same name as Azrael so one is lying - hint its Azrael), which allows him to enact a single extra combat doctrine once per game that affects all ultramarine in your army - not even detachment - the whole army. That is huge and provides a massive amount of tactical flexibility, it really is fantastic.

Verdict: I don't like Ultramarines, they are the goodie two shoes of the 40k universe and they get all the good shit. However I think for what he does and for his price, Marneus is a very well written character indeed and worth his points if you can fit him in the list. And if you can fit a wraithknight in you can fit Marneus in! 


Vulkan He'stan - The forgefather of the Salamanders hunting for the 9 artefacts of Vulkan, relinquishing his own identity to follow this path till his death. Weighing in at 190 points this already seems steep for a none chapter master character, but lets see what he's got shall we. 

So we have a regular captains profile but this comes with a 2+ armour loadout as standard but no iron halo. The reason he has no iron halo is because he has Kesare’s Mantle, and this bad boy gives Vulkan a 3++ invulnerable which is a big boost over the regular 4++. In addition to this he has the Gauntlet of the Forge, essentially a wrist mounted heavy flamer with built in digital weapons! Very 
neat indeed and very handy. Finally he has the Spear of Vulkan, a +2 strength mastercrafted two handed AP3 power weapon. Can't bite through those 2+ saves but will mulch most anything else and mastercrafted should mitigate any poor rolls that occur.

Vulkan also has the warlord trait iron resolve like lysander which gives him the same 2+/3++/5+++ loadout, except Vulkan doesn't also have eternal warrior meaning any strength 8 wound will turn him into a green smear like any other marine. 

Furthermore he has the salamander chapter tactics and he has the rule The Forgefather which grants all meltaguns, combi-meltas, and multineltas in his detachment the mastercrafted rule. Massively increasing the chance of popping vehicle or just melting some poor buggers face.

Verdict: Now Vulkan cost 190 points and he provides a very salamander specific buff to his entire detachment which is great and isn't situational as it applies to any shots, equally he carries a powerful flame template which grants good board control near him particularly against weaker horde armies like Orks, Tyranids and Guard (Though I'd be careful of flaming yourself out of charge range). He also can mulch regular troops very decently with his additional strength and AP3 goodness. And aside from his lack of eternal warrior and 1 wound less this is mounted on a very survivable chassis. He is very much worth the 190 points. 

ASIDE - so tell me now, if I told you there was a relic that for 40 points granted your character 1 extra wound, 4 extra strength at AP1 AND eternal warrior would you call that fairly priced? Vulkan is well priced, but compared to lysander he is very expensive I feel. Really think Lysander should cost a bunch more.

Raven Guard

Shadow Captain Shrike - The 3rd Company captain of stealth rolls in at a relatively low 185 points, but what do we get for this? Regular captain stats but only a 3+ armour save as standard with a 4++ invuln. This seems like a very raw deal compared to the comparably priced Vulkan, Pedro and Helbrecht who all come with a 2+ artificer save and 2 of them come with FNP. Marching on he also gets a jump pack obviously and then we are on to his special weapons.

No ranged weapons here but he does have The Raven's Talons. The Talon's are a set of master crafted rending and shredding lightning claws; given that he has 5 attacks on the charge he has a good chance of mincemeating any 3+ save gribblies but rending does give him a fighting chance against 2+ saves if purely reliant on luck, still better than the Khan and Helbrecht and Vulkan to an extent, with Vulkans extra strength on his weapon mitigated on Shrike by shred.

As well as Ravenguard chapter tactics Shrike only has 1 special rule as well as his Warlord trait. His warlord trait is Angel of Death which grants Shrike the fear special rule and fear tests must be made on a 3D6. Great! Except a large portion of the 40k world is actually fearless or at least pseudo fearless. So pretty pants compared to the horde of iron resolving feel no painers out there. 

His unique special rule is called See, But Remain Unseen. This grants Shrike stealth and infiltrate and he can only join units of jump infantry BEFORE DEPLOYING. This seems to quite strongly imply that Shrike is intended to infiltrate a unit of jump infantry with him, otherwise why specify the before deploying part? It would just say "Shrike can only join units of jump infantry" otherwise. I know this is a bone  of contention with many people. But I firmly believe, in this case at least, that Shrike can join and infiltrate a unit of jump infantry and I would have no problem with a player doing this against me.

Verdict: I'm afraid Shrike really isn't all that, other than the debatable ability to infiltrate a jump squad he doesn't bring much to the table for his army and he certainly isn't going to set the world on fire with his combat ability. These points are better spent elsewhere I feel personally.

Black Templars

High Marshall Helbrecht - The Chapter Master equivalent for the Black Templars rolls in at 180 points. Stats wise a chapter master with a 2+/4++. Not a great deal of special rules on these guys, just Black Templar Chapter tactics and a rule called Cruasade of Wrath which can be activated at the beginning of an assault phase. It grants hatred and fleet to all units with the Black Templar chapter tactics rule. Which is a fantastic force multiplier but in a game where assault is not the big bad boy in the room and given you can only use it once per turn it not often going to be the rule that wins the game I feel. 

His Warlord trait is The Imperiums Sword which grants furious charge to himself and his unit which is actually really nice and should be taken advantage of as much as possible. Again as fluffy as this is though, assault is not all that easy to manage particularly on a man who doesn't have a jump pack.
A big squad of termies in a land raider crusader with an apothecary would however be fairly dishy, but a fast army will still just leg it, or a weak army can just throw a speed bump unit in the way that you will crush in a turn and be left open to shooting death. 

Wargear wise Helbrecht has a combi-melta and the sword of the high marshalls forged from the shards of rogal dorns shattered blade. This is a strength user AP3 sword that is mastercrafted and has the special rule Legacy of Dorn which grants D3 extra attacks on the charge instead of 1. Nice but he's not the kind of carrier that can really take advantage of those extra attacks particularly when its only at his base strength 4.

Verdict: High Marshall Helbrecht is a great character in the fluff but he is just so bland on the table and really doesn't bring anything to the table that you can't trump with a custom chapter master for decent points. Other than furious charge for his squad and a very situational 1 turn boost army wide he brings very  little and he isn't in any way a beat stick in combat even against regular 3+ guys. His points are better spent elsewhere, if you are desperate for Templar flavour I heartily recommend Grimaldus, a much better force multiplier, not a great deal less survivable and saves you 30 points to be spent elsewhere.

NB - also, why does the chapter master of AN ENTIRELY SPACE FLEET faring chapter not have an orbital bombardment attack!? Also I don't like his model. Gah. 

Crimson Fists

Pedro Kantor - Chapter master of the Crimson Fists, the other illustrious second founding chapter split from the Imperial fists, weighing in at 185 points. Chapter master stats with a 2+/4++ save loadout, he also come equipped with a standard power fist, nothing special there. And he comes with Orbital strike!!! But Helbrecht doesn't... say what!? Anyway his ranged weapon his his only named special, called Dorn's Arrow, its a stength 4 AP4 assault 4 24" range storm  bolter. Nice, but nothing all that special. 

Like Lysander and Vulkan (so obviously popular), Old Pedro here has iron resolve as his warlord trait granting FNP, again making him a survivable bugger beyond the lack of eternal warrior. 

Other special rules wise he has chapter tactics Imperial fists being a second founding chapter that isn't somewhat self flagellating like the Templars are! He also has the Oath of Rynn which grants all models in Pedro's detachment preferred enemy against Orks. It also gives all models within 12 inches of Pedro +1 attack. Now this sort of make it sound like it has to be against Orks but a written its just any model in Pedro's detachment within 12 inches gets +1 attack. Very importantly that is models not units so careful positioning is required if you want to make best use of that. 

Finally he has the special rule Hold the Line. This is a fantastic special rule which grants Sternguard veterans objective secured. Sternguard already mesh very well with  Imperial Fist chapter tactics and if you have some kind of reserve manipulations that allows you to guarantee drop podding sternguard near objectives it could be a real winner indeed. 

Verdict: Overall I like Pedro Kantor, he isn't exceptional by any means and I think like Helbrecht you can make a better overall Chapter Master for the points, but unlike  Helbrecht, the fact that he grant Sternguard objective secured all game long is something you can really build a strategy around, objectives mean points and points win you games. I like him, but I think he is just a tad over cost and would like to see him for 170-175. But if you run Crimson Fists, I think he is a must take for fluff and is a strong contender for competitive as well particularly at higher points costs when you can afford a decent second HQ.

Flesh Tearers

Gabriel Seth - basically take everything I lauded on Dante above and imagine the opposite. Flesh tearer fans got a real bad deal with Seth taking up a lord of war slot, he just isn't at the same calibre as any other Lord of War that crosses my mind, even with his cheaper price tag of 155 points. Ok he has a chapter masters stats but only a 3+/4++ and no eternal warrior so any S8 hit will insta gibb him, so a dark lance shot or a power fisting character would leave him with a 50:50 chance of living if he was caught on his own for example, relying entirely on his iron halo 4++. Seth will have 6 attacks 
on the charge (4 base + 2 from rage) that are S9 (4 x 2 from his blood reaver eviscerator and + 1 from furious charge) That are AP2 and rending. To hit rolls of 6 also cause a single additional hit each.

Verdict: He is a brilliant horde smasher but you want to keep him out of the way of anything nasty! Plus for his cost you can get 2 sanguinary priest with jump packs and have 5 points to spare (off the top of my head... correct me if I'm wrong) or thereabouts anyway. Sadly there are better options if not in a themed force. He should either have been beefed or not be a Lord of War, with my preference being the latter particularly given the status of Helbrecht or Pedro Kantor for example as regular HQs. Bah humbug!


So there we have my impression for each of the leading characters for the main loyalist legions. No Iron Warriors character sadly, but then we all know how strong you can build an Iron Warriors character if you want one, but it would be nice if they got some love from the fluff really.

Below is how I rank them from top to bottom, this is a table that reflects their overall worth for their points, it was very hard to make a decision on a few of them and they could jump up or down a place very easily I think.

1. Commander Dante
2. Vulkan He'stan
3. Marneus Calgar
4. Azrael
5. Kor'sarro Khan
6. Darnarth Lysander
7. Logan Grimnar
8. Pedro Kantor
9. Gabriel Seth
10. High Marshall Helbrecht
11. Shadow Captain Shrike

My main trouble here, was where to put Marneus in, he is really good, and I have great respect for the rules that represent him, but he is just so bloody expensive. I would be happy if people swapped him and Dante round to be honest. That top 3 in general are exceptionally good.

Vulkan is considerably less beefy than the others, but he is very cheap for the great level of synergy he brings to the Salamanders, I think he is possibly the best written of all the characters. Dante is an absolute powerhouse for his points in combat and also synergises well with many of the Blood Angels rules and detachments and IF you couple him with jump pack units it is golden, but I will concede there are flavours of Blood Angels where you might not have many jump pack units.

At the end of the day, all of these characters become greater or lesser dependent on the context you place them in, they must be utilised as a part of the whole, the head of the snake so to speak, they cannot carry the fight alone and must be used wisely.

But some are just plain better!

I hope you have enjoyed reading these articles as much as I have enjoyed writing them. I promise I will reply to all comments on all my posts but already there are two on my last post which have got me thinking and I look forward to replying to them.

If there is anything anyone would like me to write about, please do make suggestions below and I will try and work them into something in the future :)

Peace out,



  1. Again in the comparisons with Lysander, yeah, he's way more of a beatstick than Vulkan, but he brings absolutely nothing to help the rest of the Army out. Vulkan, on the other hand, grants a re-roll to every Melta Weapon in the Army. Particularly given the way that Melta tends to be used at point blank against really nasty targets, it's often literally a do-or-die proposition, and the extra reliability there is worth so much. Lysander isn't just paying 40 Points for that Hammer and the extra Wound and Eternal Warrior, he's giving up that Army-wide buff, along with a Master-Crafted Relic Blade and a Heavy Flamer, so we're looking at something like 75 Points plus an Army-wide buff for that. Context makes it seem much more reasonable.

    Shrike's interaction with Jump Infantry was arguable until GW put out a FAQ saying that ICs with Infiltrate can only Join Units with Infiltrate before Deplyment. Between the two rulings, he literally doesn't have a single Unit he can Join at the start of the Game, unless you're running him Allied to a Raptors force with Lias Issodon as the Warlord. It was unclear, people asked them to clarify, they threw him under the bus :P

    Pedro isn't top-tier, but he's definitely one of my faves. He makes SternGuard amazing, especially when he's with them so they've got 3 Attacks each, he's got the Orbital Bombardment, he actually has a unique gun, even if it's not a great one, just an all-around good guy. I'm not entirely clear how he interacts with the Gladius, tho. If the whole Strike Force is "his Detachment" for purposes of Hold the Line, he can make Sternguard in the First Company Strikeforce ObSec, which would be awesome. If it's just the High Command choice that it affects, he's only really worthwhile in a CAD.

    1. Hey Westrider!

      I'm really appreciating the comments, thanks very much! I hope my somewhat irrational hatred of Lysander hasn't ruined the articles for you a little :P I hope my overall placing of Vulkan as second and Lysander as 6th reflects my overall impressions.

      My rather intense dislike of him stems from a few things. 1) Imperial fist chapter tactics are already pretty awesome so the fact he doesn't buff doesn't seem like to big a deal to me 2) I don't think he is a great character to elevate to this level of smashfuckery (pardon my french), given his is way more of an absolute beatstick than Gabriel Seth the actual Chapter master of one of the most bloodthirsty chapters our there and even Logan Grimnar, both of whom are Lords of War and placed below him. 3) Finally, even though he doesn't buff because of his resilience and his ability to ruin anythings day if he gets the chance I feel when used well the opponent has to actively direct a great deal of thought into dealing with him at range, speedbumping him, or actively deciding to avoid him as a strategy.

      Whilst Vulkan does buff the army in an awesome way, he doesn't generate the same dilemma as a force on the table. Again don't get me wrong I still rate Vulkan way higher, I just think Lysander should either be made not an eternal warrior and less smashy or made more expensive overall.

      Yeah Shrike got an absolute dumping, but I would still personally be happy to let someone infiltrate a jump squad with him, but I am more of a fluff bunny than a competitive gamer, the rules are now clear on it not being Kosher. Poor old Shrike!

      Pedro,like Marneus, Vulkan and Dante is a really nicely well written character with a cool model and fluff and they've done a good job of reflecting that on the tabletop at a relatively well costed level, I'm glad you like him as well.

      Because I play Templars out of the Vanilla book I haven't really looked at the Gladius because I will be taking Crusader squads not tacticals. I'll have to have a mooch and see what it reads like.

      Thanks again for the comments! Any suggestions for future stuff is happily received :)

    2. No worries. We've all got our own biases.

      Honestly, I kind of want Veteran Sergeant Lysander from the 3rd Ed SM Dex back. He was pretty cool then, just gave his Squad full re-rolls on bolt-weapon fire, but nothing over the top.

      It also true that he has more impact on the opponent's actions, since there's nothing they can do about Vulkan's buffs. I also admit, I tend to kind of underrate him, because every time I've gone up against him, I've either had a comparable beatstick character available, or I've had a Tarpit Unit ridiculous enough that I could just let him play with Gaunts or Zombies or Conscripts all Game ;)

      I absolutely agree that Seth should be far more badass. I used to play Fleshtearers for years, and my custom chapter's scheme came about largely because it's really easy to repaint from the remaining Models I have of theirs. But their Chapter Master is seriously underwhelming. He should definitely have Eternal Warrior and Artificer Armour, and probably something else. Re-rolls to hit, or change the Warlord Trait so his whole Squad gets Rampage or something.

  2. I have used Logan a few times now and I have got to say he is pretty poo. He is far too expensive, his warlord trait is not great for space marines, and he should be much more killy than he is for his points (and his sled is just poor too). I usually take a thunderlord instead as the damage output is far higher, he is more survivable and manouverable for a similar cost in points. Also Arjac rockfist is a much better investmemt in points if you want a beatstick character. Logan used to be a buffer character, now he is unsure of his identity and role on the battlefield.

    1. Agreed, he lacks a real purpose and just doesn't fulfil the promise of his fluff in any of the ways it could be done. And god damn I hate that bloody sled.

    2. I have a confession to make though. I do own the sled, although I plan to convert it to make it a little better hopefully. Got it very cheap from a friend as he wanted just the logan model. Santa ho!